There was a song back in the day, the 60’s, the 1960’s, like that, “Groovin on Sunny Afternoon”. A catchy tune. Now we have Zoomin on a Friday Morning. At least it will be morning here but later in Argentina, England and Spain. It is a gathering of Caminoheads Bureau Chiefs from all over with Catalina our Historian. Catalina has the book cooking about this blog, six years of it anyway. She is taking it from the beginning up to the Veranda party. Just briefly, it is a condensed version of all the blog material from May 2014 to August 2019. We are trying to make it come out to be a normal sized book from two Don Quoxite’s.
That is the update on that, pretty exciting hey? So, today Catalina is briefing the Bureau Chiefs on this project and asking for their help on various aspects of it. This is a big project in my mind anyway but our Historian is sheparding this along with the greatest of ease. She is hot to get it done and out while there is so much interest in backyard pursuits, Camino and otherwise.
Well, that is the big news. Other than that it is the very last day of July. August tomorrow. Almost a year since the fabulous Veranda party and so much has happened since. We are on a different planet now, how did that happen? So, this year we are doing SOMETHING in spite of that. And that is a two day open house on Saturday August 22 and Sunday August 23 is the CAMINOHEADS CORNTINE! This is strictly for locals and it is just a drop in deal. Come pick some corn and blackberries, walk a lap and maybe drink a glass of wine. No major deal but something.
So, that is it for me. Off to watch goldfinches and clip noxious weeds.
A quote from Mary Oak a local author and teacher who used this little phrase in an email communication and it has grabbed by attention. I have to admit that I need to look up the word evoke in the big old paper dictionary. Evoke – bring or recall to the conscious mind. Oh, that is interesting.
This was in an announcement for a Zoom class entitled “Facing Medical Tribulations with Healing Imagination”. Yea, give me a boatload of that! I might just have to check that out.
I have that all in the mix today along with yesterday’s blog thoughts about the lowly blackberry bramble. I’m swirling and I have no words right now. Some days are like that, fortunately.
The blue sky has some puffy white clouds, a few, coming from the southeast. Looks like plenty of sunshine happening. Off to my walk.
I think that this is a first. I received a request to write a blogpost on a specific topic. Henriette and I have a weekly phone date and we kibbutz about writing or Catholicism or whatever. At some point I told her that the blackberries were ripe. And she went off, as in a rant, about what a pain they were, the blackberry plants that is. About how they just want to take over her backyard. How she has to pay her landscape guy so much to try and make progress against their encroachment. Yes, yes, I hear you.
I myself have fought the war against the blackberry bramble juggernaut for decades now. I’ve used curses and flames and shovels and tractors, everything short of poisons. Yes, I normally rant Henriette, don’t feel alone. This particular species is commonly called the Himalayan
Blackberry and is an invader to this local environment. It is not indigenous and is running amuck over our landscape hither and yon.
But not long ago as I sat and contemplated my cancer I began to study this particular blackberry. I was slowly starting to see and appreciate the beauty of it. I was seeing beauty in it’s negatives as well as it’s positives, is that possible? Yes, it is!
It is easy to see beauty in positives. The blackberry flowers are beautiful and loved by the thousands of local bees. The fruit is luscious and bountiful and requires zero care to produce, zero. If we harvest 5% of the berries on this ten acres we will be doing almost the impossible. I am sure that there are other positives but I don’t see them after fighting the decades of fighting.
But how about the negatives? How to find beauty in something that is so evasive as to be viewed by most local landowners as borderline evil? If I can get away from the landowner mentality and see this plant with new eyes I find it to be truly amazing in it’s power and tenacity. The more I looked at it the more I began to appreciate it. And beyond, I started thinking that is what I need in regard to my cancer. What if I, if my mind, body and spirit exhibited that kind of power and tenacity? What if I could cobble together that kind of life force energy in my challenges with my cancer? All of a sudden I had a new mentor!
One of those days with details and details and more details. My usual time to do the post is between 8 and 9 AM but here we are with the sun high overhead. Well, it is just a minor complaint really.
It is another good day for corn growing. I haven’t peeked at it today yet. I am trying to keep up with the watering which becomes the most important concern as we move into mid summer.
The climate here is sometimes termed Mediterranean which means that at a certain point in July rainfall starts to become scarce. There are probably other aspects of this particular climate type but this one impacts me the most. So, this is what is in the making right now.
Speaking of Mediterranean climate I do know of a friend that has put in a small olive grove of maybe thirty trees. There is an experiment. I guess farming in general is an experiment some would say a gamble. I guess this is what we do, try stuff?
We have a walk later today if you want to stop by.
That seems to me to be a great phrase. We just need to connect it to something somewhere for it to have some life, some purpose. Preferably that would be a good life and a good purpose.
In this time of pandemic old familiar things seem distant and hard to get to. Maybe can’t get to them at all. I don’t need to go into that as you know the story. We are prisoners and witnesses to some things disappearing and some things birthing and the whole deal seems abstract and far away. We struggle for control, for some way to order the chaos.
My question is what is our response to this situation? That is where the “appropriate and robust” comes in. What can we hammer out as a statement describing a way out, a way forward? Where do we start.
Maybe defining the problem is the first goal. I’m struggling here. But I sense a need to make some progress in this area.
But I am out of gas for now. Catherine coming and we will say our rosary and then drive up to church to take Communion. I know for one that it is important to keep our spiritual connection lively.
A cloudless morning here at Raven Ranch. Maybe it is the number one day statistically to be cloudless, it could very well be. I remember this being a big deal with climbers planning an ascent of Mt Rainer here in the neighborhood. Seems like a particular day in July is mentioned as the most likely to be the one to see the grand view when you reached the summit.
Yea, as I remember July 25th in 2014 it was the day Kelly and Phil flew out of Seattle and into Madrid. That was back before Phil was Felipé. And back then we, Kelly and I that is, had no idea when St James Day was. We had plenty of things that we were juggling at that point. We were the young and the willing and knew little of the power of St James. But it didn’t take the long for him to wrestle us into submission, a week or so, with nasty tactics like sleep deprivation, heat, pain, smiles, hugs and chocolate croissants. Well, you know!
So, this is his day. As I have learned, correct me if I am wrong, these Saint’s Days are the days of the death of that particular person. We celebrate the day they were martyred although not all Saints were martyred. But James the Greater was martyred although I am not sure anyone is sure of the actually day on the calendar. He was the first of the Apostles to be killed for his faith and he was beheaded by a Herod. I think that was the son of the Herod that was ruling at the time of the birth of Jesus.
Anyway, somehow, some way his body is spirited to western Spain, the end of the earth, to be with us there these days in the Cathedral at Santiago. But we don’t need all our factoid ducks in a row hopefully. The important thing is that we went, experienced and drank of the “flow of pilgrims” and that somehow we internalized that thing. It was the grain of sand that turned into the beautiful pearl in our shell.
So, today at some point drink a toast to our alma mater wherever you find yourself and in whatever shape you are in. Thank you St James for giving us something that has totally enriched our lives and that can’t be taken away. Yes we got the t-shirt but we also got something profoundly deep and enduring. We are thankful for our most important ducks being totally lined up.
I’m off to Spain in ten days to spend a month walking my beloved Camino Frances before starting six months of chemo in early September. My cancer is ultimately life limiting and I’m probably as well now as I’ll ever be. A friend is going with me and I’ll be walking just 10km or so a day. I’m not strong enough at the moment to do more.
It has been interesting to experience people’s reactions. These have ranged from “you go girl” to “are you mad” to “you are putting other people’s life at risk”.
I’ve sat with the question of going. If I had all the time in the world, I’d delay til next year. But I don’t. I also I think have a different attitude to risk than some. Yes, there is risk involved. But my entire life is risky these days. Living is risky. I think many of us including me have been insulated from life risk. We haven’t had wars or famines to deal with. So the “new normal” feels frightening. I have many healthy friends who won’t leave the house at the moment.
But we have to choose. I have to choose. Do I engage with the world with all it’s wonderful and beauty and also with its Covid risk. Or do I hide. I’m choosing not to hide. I’m choosing to go to Spain and walk. I won’t be stupid. I’ll be wearing my mask and keeping my distance, but I’m going.
And it’s given my life a new urgency and joy it hasn’t had for a while.
Karen, Cambridge. Caminoheads England Bureau Chief.
Sorry if I used the title “Nothing About Fish” before in one of my million blogposts. I can’t remember. But when our daughter Tesia was in grade school her class had an assignment to put together a book of recipes. This is all ancient history and I don’t remember the details but that is what it was entitled. I have always chuckled over that.
It is sort of off center like everything else around this crazy Island. One of our Island friends stopped over to chat a couple of days back. We love him dearly but man is he quirky. Of course we are not quirky ourselves only other people. Anyway he is struggling through a hard period in his life with a cancer project and resulting nasty chemo. No hair is just a minor part of it. He was telling us the details to all that and yes I can remember stuff like that for sure and he had a lot to carry all at once. Somewhere during his visit we switched over to talking about his bible class and he got so amazing animated at that point like a switch was flipped, total drama.
This is so us. We may have all these crazy things happening in our lives, good and bad, and most of the time we are as reasonable as heck but then there is one area of our lives where all our drama oozes out. And we defend our drama like it is totally reasonable and if you have a problem with it it must be your fault. I have car and truck drama and here is a good one, plumbing drama. Plumbing really brings out the best and worst in me. And I think my carrying on is perfectly reasonable of course.
Now here is a crazy one. My Rebecca practices, are you ready, knitting drama. Can you believe that, I say? Just how important could knitting possibly be, right? But it just all comes gushing and oozing out at that point. See that’s the point, to someone else your drama seems the ultimate in goofy while their drama is something to pay attention to.
Of course this tendency probably is amplified by our current quarantine situation. I saw a good FaceBook thought today. It was, remember when your Mom said, “Keep it up and I will slap you into the middle of next year!” Is that offer still open? Hold my beer.
I have two more items on my list of repairs to my truck. OK, three if you count washing which will be last. One more appointment with the local mechanic to replace the wiper switch and me getting a new antenna installed will get a working AM/FM radio going for the other item.
Have to drive into town in a minute to get some connectors for this antenna project. That will be fun and here is were the cheap thrills come in. While I drive to town which takes fifteen minutes I can try out all my truck stuff that I got fixed in the last two weeks. Yea, lock and unlock the doors, roll the windows up and down, flip light switches and the biggie, fire off the windshield washer. We know how to party! Woohoo!
So, why is this so important Felipé? Well, remember when I came to the realization that I was concentrating so much on my cancer problem that there were a bunch of minor problems with my body that I had put off that were really mounting up? So, I went to the hand doc, foot doc and the tooth doc. Well, I feel immensely better for all that. And the same thing was happening to my trusty truck and now with some TLC it is a joy to drive and not a chore. There is a definite parallel.